Children’s Rodeo Contestants Let ‘er Buck!

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On Thursday, September 17, forty-two young cowboys and cowgirls took over the Pendleton Round-Up grounds for the annual Children’s Rodeo. The event for children with special needs celebrated its 31st year with a little rain, exciting rodeo events and lots of smiles!

Students from ten different school districts of the IMESD participated, including small districts like Echo and Ione and bigger districts such as Morrow County and Pendleton.

The contestants enjoyed steer roping and bull riding with pretend stock, barrel racing with stick horses and milking a pretend cow. But there were plenty of real horses in the arena to ride and pet, and some goats to make friends with as well. Many of the children particularly liked visiting the teepee and trying the Native American drumming, which provided a cheerful soundtrack to the laughter of the contestants.

Each child is matched up with a cowboy or cowgirl and the two travel around the arena together to complete the events. In addition to a photo with their volunteer, each contestant receives a T-shirt, cowboy hat, lariat, scarf and trophy. This year, a special gift was a genuine rodeo award buckle for each child, made possible through donations from cowboys and cowgirls.

“Each year, after all the planning and organizing and details, the best part of the Children’s Rodeo is seeing the smiles on the faces of these wonderful kids!” said Karen Parker, Director.

More than 80 IMESD staff, Round-Up volunteers, community volunteers and volunteer cowboys and cowgirls made the event possible. This year, the Children’s Rodeo was moved to Thursday to allow more time in the arena. This also called for joining in the Tough Enough to Wear Pink theme of the day, with pink tie-dyed T-shirts for the contestants.

The Children’s Rodeo is sponsored by the Pendleton Round-Up Association and the InterMountain ESD. Other contributors are Swire Coca-Cola, Pendleton Rotary and Walmart.